Storm-terrific this early Thursday on California’s north coast, with gusty winds and heavy rain, the season’s real opener.
Just a short while ago, the wind eruptions were pretty-fierce, rattling the apartment’s woodwork, fluttering nearby tree limbs, and coupled with smashing-into-windows rain pellets, and presto — weather anxiety.
Why the shit not? Personal observation, and from the NWS this morning: ‘Messy weather is expected to unfold throughout the region today and night.’
Use of the word, ‘messy,‘ from educated environmental nerds, increases the anxiety — not a scientific-sounding pronouncement, but slanted in a more common dangerous-shitty, wet-street frame of mind.
Rainfall maybe up to three inches, and those wind eruptions could top 50 mph, especially where I live, elevated on the side of a huge cliff right at the shoreline — gusts benefit from an ocean-pushed kick in the ass.
(Illustration: ‘The Blue Umbrella 1914,’ by Helen Hyde, found here).
Earlier this morning, some heavy-duty wind/rain, and a number of lessor-weighted versions since — flowing apparently in waves as the front moves across our area. Rain, and snow on the interior high points, is forecast on/off for the next week to 10 days, and supposedly ‘conveyor-belt’ style, continue on through the season.
Hopefully, even with the ‘messy,’ anxiety-producing weather, this winter will help our drought situation. This particular season, too, comes highly-influenced by an El Niño event, which has grown, and grown.
From yesterday’s New Scientist: ‘Now the current El Niño has surpassed the 1997-8 El Niño on a key measure, according to the latest figures released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.’
The key metric is warm water in the central Pacific. And back in 1997, the peak was 2.8?°C above average: ‘According to the latest measurements, it reached 2.8?°C on 4 November this year, and went on to hit 3.1?°C on 18 November – the highest temperatures ever seen in this region.’
And a couple of notes on recent drought news — first, Californians slowed saving water: ‘California cities slashed their water use just 22.2 percent in October, but they’re still on pace to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s 25 percent conservation mandate over the long term.’
Water supplies are becoming worrisome (KCRA TV): ‘State officials say dozens of water agencies may only receive 10 percent of expected supplies, half of what they received last year through California’s massive system of reservoirs and canals. Rich Atwater of the Southern California Water Committee says the drought underscores the need to modernize the state’s water system.’
Does one reflect on the other?
And this item, an oddity in an odd time — from an interview Sunday at NPR with Bernie Krause, an audio ecologist, and the possible effect the drought has had on the California’s ‘soundscape,’ the ‘birdsong‘ of the wild.
Krause commented on two recordings he’d made at a spot in Sugarloaf State Park in the Mayacamas Mountains, just east of Santa Rosa — the first in 2004, with plenty of bird noise, but a recording just 10 years later in the same location, in 2014, and the birds were gone.
“In 77 years, this is the first time that I’ve heard a spring in a temperate area in United States without birdsong.”
Despite even with the rain/wind of the surging El Niño this season, the future sounds quiet:
“It expresses to me that there is a problem, and, really, it needs to be addressed and looked at in the most profound way.”
Mix in the panic of weather anxiety, and you’ve go a profound problem…